A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
In this whole complicated moving process, I have decided that I really want to grow some of my own vegetables and herbs all year long. Really, I’d like to grow all the herbs that I can because I find that I like to use them a lot when I’m cooking and that I like them better fresh and grocery stores charge exorbitant amounts for them. As for vegetables, the idea of having lettuce and tomatoes that I can cut and pick from my own indoor garden is something I definitely want to pursue. I found that there are even ways I can grow carrots and strawberries in containers indoors. Indoor container gardens are definitely in my future, whether or not I start them now before I move so they’re ready for move in day or not. I can’t wait to have a verdant space to live in.
Where does this desire come from? I really enjoy eating fresh, raw, whole foods. I’m not the biggest clean eating buff like my sister and mom, but I do enjoy the taste of organic and natural foods, especially those grown right out my own backyard. There’s really nothing better. I’m trying to piece together a budget for my groceries in these coming months as well since I’ll be living on that shoestring budget and growing some of my own food would help cut down on those expenses. As for herbs, they have so many different uses! I could make some of my own tea or use them to spice up a homemade tomato sauce. I love the way herbs look and smell. In the past, I have tried to grow herbs before in the mason jar gardens that you see all over pintrest. It was a horrible disaster. I think I accidentally destroyed the plants when I tried to tear them up into smaller sections to fit in the mason jars I was using and then they got buggy and all died. It was really disheartening and I hope that it is no longer a reflection of my skill as a gardener.
I’ve also kept houseplants in the past, though I have no idea what kinds of plants they were because they were leftover plants from my grandmother’s funeral that my mom didn’t know what to do with. I know that they were impossible to kill though, trust me I tried. The problem with buying books is that you must have space for books and I tend to rapidly run out of that space and so I decided it was time for the plants to go. They were taking up valuable shelf space and the books were encroaching. I quit watering them. I didn’t rotate them towards the sun. I didn’t prune them. I quit taking care of them and still the persisted until one day, with a lot of guilt weighing down on me, I threw out the live plants and moved the enormous stack of homeless books on to the newly vacated shelf. I would like to try houseplants again too. I think it would be incredibly fun to have a dwarf lemon tree, like the Meyer lemon. If I can track down the plants like what I had before, I will certainly buy those again, as an apology to the plants that I tried to kill and then abandoned in a dumpster. I won’t do cactus or succulents again though. I’ve managed to kill all of those that I’ve ever owned either by overwatering or underwatering. Cacti are the unsolvable puzzle.
Another reason that I think it’s incredibly important to keep plants in my apartment is that I truly believe that it keeps you rooted, if you’ll pardon the pun. We live in a society that consumes and destroys forests and plants. We’re in the middle of the biggest mass extinction event since the dinosaurs. We pollute and we consume foods and products that have traveled amazing distances using up so many resources along the way. I feel like plants, be they in gardens, lawns, or houses help bring us back to a little bit simpler world. It shows us that we can provide for ourselves in the way that Safeway or Albertson’s or Walmart can’t. I know exactly where my lettuce has been. I know that my plants are converting the CO2 in my house into O2. I don’t need a fancy air filter. The color green reminding me to think about the planet I live on, not only just my comfort and immediate needs.
For all these reasons, I’ve also researched many different ways that I might be able to set up a composting bucket in my apartment. I don’t really want something that smells and compost can get pretty smelly, but I think it’s important that my table scraps and parts of food that I don’t use in cooking don’t end up in the landfill. (I did some research on the landfill in Chadron, where I currently live and it’s only got about ten to fifteen more years before it needs to be expanded. That’s incredible.) Compost would also help with my plants and it would be one more thing I wouldn’t need to spend money on. This sort of self-sufficient project really excites me and I can’t wait to get started on it all. Maybe it’s just an itty bitty step and I know I’m just one person, but I believe that it makes a difference.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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New York City based photographer STEFAN FALKE visits artists who live and work on both sides of the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region for his ongoing project. All photos and texts © Stefan Falke (No use without written permission by the author)